Car accidents often leave drivers disoriented, making it difficult to handle the accident responsibly. To stay prepared for the unexpected, it’s a good idea to know what do to after a car crash before it happens.
Here are the steps you should take.
1. Assess injuries
Before attempting to exit your vehicle or communicate with involved drivers, assess whether you or any of your passengers have been harmed.
Remember that an injury does not necessarily need to be visible. For example, if you or any of your passengers have a headache or feel nauseous, this may indicate a brain injury you can’t see. Those who are seriously injured should not strain themselves trying to exit the vehicle.
After assessing the condition of you and your passengers, ask the involved drivers whether they need medical attention. Do not admit fault for the accident or accuse involved drivers of causing the accident during this communication.
2. Alert the authorities
If you or any party involved in the accident is harmed, you must contact the police for help. The police can help injured parties receive medical attention and take record of the accident.
Even if no one is hurt in the accident, you should still call the police to the scene. This will keep parties from later making an injury or damage claim that is false. The police will also help you and involved drivers exchange insurance information.
If you or another driver make an injury claim, having a police record will provide other important details of the accident, such as the time and location the accident occurred at. This could be useful if evidence later shows that a driver was texting while driving or otherwise distracted.
3. Gather evidence
If you or your passengers are able, you should gather as much information at the scene as possible. Take photographs of vehicle damage, the scene, involved drivers and any injuries the crash caused. You can also get contact information from witnesses and write down your recollection of the accident to strengthen your case.
If an involved driver has a dashboard camera, be sure to let the police know about it. This may be seized as evidence.
4. Seek medical attention
After being involved in a car accident, you should always seek medical attention — whether you feel injured or not. If you later discover that you experienced a delayed injury, this will help substantiate your claim.
5. Talk to an attorney
Following an accident, the other driver’s car insurance company may want to talk to you about the details of the incident. Using a personal injury attorney to speak on your behalf is the best way to avoid accidentally admitting fault for an accident you may not have caused.
Discussing the circumstances of the accident with an attorney can also help you learn more about your options for filing a claim to cover medical expenses and related costs.